Vladimir Putin has completed his 2-day state visit to Greece, where he met with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and Greek president. At the airport Putin was lavishly greeted, complete with red carpet, honorary guard and 3 jets flying overhead in his honor.
Putin arriving to Greece:
Greece, much like Italy, Cyprus, Hungary and France, as well as Germany, is trying to find a way to bypass sanctions and to increase trade with Russia. If you ask me, the easiest way to ‘bypass’ sanctions is to simply end them. But Brussels and Berlin play games, and this is what gets the rest of Europe in trouble.
One area for both Italy and Greece that may shine is Russian tourism, especially after Russian tourism left Turkey and Egypt. Another area could be investments. As I mentioned before, Italians are active at investing in Crimea, and so are Germans. Russian companies would be glad to invest in EU, should the opportunities present themselves. Russian energy is always of great interest for Greece, Italy and most of Europe. However, the political games being played make it difficult for businesses to make deals based on reason and necessity.
In view of the EU sanctions, Russia works with certain separate countries, such as Greece and Italy.
The clear three reasons Italy and Greece are at the forefront of friendly relations with Russia are:
- Their economy is more dependent on trade with Russia and, therefore, they have much more to lose from bad relations with Russia;
- Club Med countries suffer more than Germanic countries from EU’s economic downturn and their need for additional markets is much stronger than for some Western European counties;
- Greece and Italy are traditionally some of the most friendly to Russia countries in the EU.
Greek PM Tsipras talked about the pressing need to remove sanctions and proposed to serve as an intermediary between Russia and EU.
During the visit, Putin mentioned that it was time to translate the great relations between Greece and Russia into mutual economic benefit.
Putin – Tsipras meetup video: Russia and Greece sign various documents re. improving trade relations, energy, tourism and other cooperation agreements.
Notice the important symbolism and body language on the above video image!
Putin and Tsipras are clearly leaning towards each other. This always denotes mutual trust and affinity. In fact, Tsipras is leaning towards Putin more.
Now, let’s look at Putin’s arms. They are open, which means he has nothing to hide. But Tsipras arms are folded, which means he is guarded or isn’t as open as he’d like to be. The reason for this regrettable (as Tsipras is, no doubt, considering – just look at his pensive face) guardedness is revealed by the flag situation to the right of the image. Greek flag is there next to the EU flag, sort of juxtaposing itself to the Russian flag on the other side.
Here is the hidden message conveyed:
‘We, Greece are talking to Russia, but haven’t forgotten that we are a member of the EU, whether we like it or not.’
In fact, as revealed by the combination of Tsipras’ body language, the fact of Putin being met as a very special guest upon arrival to Greece, and the added symbolism of the flags, there is a dissonance being present.
Tsipras hidden message is: we would love to have tighter and more intimate relations with Russia; in fact, that would be our preference, but we are confined by our membership in EU, which imposes severe limitations on who and to what degree we can be friends with.
During his visit to Greece, Vladimir Putin also visited the Sacred Mount Athos (RUS: Гора Афон), the so-called Republic of the Monks, housing 20 Orthodox monasteries, including a 1000-year-old Russian monastery. During service, the monks put Putin in the emperor’s place. Since you can’t sit during an Orthodox service, on visits to Mount Athos Byzantium Emperors of old would stand in a specially constructed, gilded honorary portico.
Putin in Byzantium emperor’s portico. Photo says: ‘Greece treats Putin like king during visit’:
Brief video – Putin on Mount Athos:
This is a longer, 25 min video of Putin’s visit to Mount Athos:
The monks recall a story of this good omen: during Putin’s first visit to Mount Athos in 2005, a donkey appeared on the road, and it ran in the center of the road in front of, and then next to, Putin’s car all the way down hill. On Putin’s way back, the donkey waited for him and again ran in front of his car, this time all the way uphill. The monks interpreted that as a fortunate sign from the Holy Mother, the patroness of Mount Athos.
In conclusion: Dmitry Medvedev has dropped a sanctions bombshell
Dmitry Medvedev has announced that Russia intends to extend her anti-EU/US food and agricultural embargo (aka, return sanctions) till the end of 2017. This is what Russian domestic agricultural producers ask us to do, said Medvedev.
Recall that I predicted this outcome from the beginning of the 2014 events. I said that EU’s anti-Russian sanctions are a blessing in disguise and that Russia will use them to strengthen domestic agricultural producers, as well manufacturers, who will be able to occupy the shelves with their products, previously entirely filled by imports.
I also said that the longer EU continues with sanctions, the more European products will find themselves squeezed out of the Russian market.
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